Local artist designs Chiefs’ custom cleats with a special meaning for Sunday’s game

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- When the Chiefs travel to Foxboro to take on the New England Patriots this weekend, they'll be rocking a new look, and it's all for a good cause.

Lawrence artist John Sebelius takes pride in his work, especially in one of his latest projects -- designing custom cleats for Chiefs players.

"It's really exciting," he said before the big debut. "I think that's what kind of keeps me going through the three months, kind of in my workshop, knocking out all these shoes is that idea of kind of this moment."

Sebelius painted a dozen pairs of shoes, including pairs for Andy Reid and KC Wolf.

It's for a league-wide program: My Cause My Cleats. Players, coaches and mascots across the league will rock specially designed shoes during their games this week to highlight organizations important to them.

For rookie safety Juan Thornhill, that's suicide prevention.

"There's someone that I know that had suffered through that, fought that battle on their own," Thornhill said. "I just wanted to get the message across for those that don't want to talk to anyone, if they're feeling some type of way, as just an opportunity to speak to someone."

Wide receiver Sammy Watkins is representing The "V" Foundation on his cleats. It's to honor his grandmother, who died from cancer, and his father, who beat it.

"It made me smile because it's not just my grandmother. It made me think about my dad and everybody going through that struggle, and we kind of made it out," Watkins said.

Sebelius met with players and Reid during training camp to get some ideas for the designs.

It's a long process. Each shoe takes about a week to finish.

"KC Wolf was definitely the most difficult for me, just because for scale, Sebelius said. "Painting that probably took four to five times the time that it takes me to do -- besides Mitchell Schwartz, who wears size 18. They're pretty similar."

With this program now in its fourth season, it's quickly become a player and fan favorite.

"I cannot wait to see the team that I root for wear these kind of in battle against the Patriots," Sebelius said.

The Chiefs will wear the cleats this weekend against the Patriots and again next week against the Broncos.

Then some of the cleats will go up for auction. All the proceeds will go to charity.

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